About the ties between British and American Bond fans

John F. Kennedy statue in Fort Worth, Texas. Kennedy helped boost the popularity of James Bond.

I stirred a hornet’s nest this week by suggesting there are some British fans of James Bond who, shall we say, aren’t fond of American fans.

I posted a typical Twitter survey on the subject. I actually was encouraged by the bulk of responses, which indicated many British fans like their American counterparts just fine.

Still, there were some reminders that the feeling isn’t universal. For example:

What makes all of this amusing is the role Americans have had with the Bond film franchise.

Albert R. Broccoli, the co-founder of Eon Productions was American. Harry Saltzman, the other co-founder, was Canadian.

Also, Broccoli’s daughter, Barbara Broccoli, and stepson, Michael G. Wilson, were Americans The United Artists executives who gave the OK (Eon has never financed Bond films) were Americans. Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz were Americans.

What’s more, two of the people who helped increase the appeal of Bond were also American: Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. I know it’s a cliche, but Kennedy listing From Russia With Love as one of his 10 favorite books helped make Bond a thing in the U.S. in the early 1960s. Hefner’s Playboy serialized Ian Fleming short stories and novels.

From Russia With Love was one of the last movies Kennedy saw at the White House before he was assassinated in 1963.

The U.S. declared independence from Britain in 1776. The two countries had a major conflict in 1812. But, for most of the time since then, the U.S. and U.K. have had what is often described as the “special relationship.”

The “special relationship” may apply to Bond fandom. But, at least in the U.K., there are dissenters. So it goes.

5 Responses

  1. TheWizardOfIce is hardly representative of anything beyond his own unsavoury persona. Easily on the outer spectrum of characters who would have trouble being admitted to Blades…

  2. The Wizard likes to provoke people, I get that. But I’ve been on the receiving end of other Brits like him.

  3. Put another way, there are more people like the Wizard than you might think.

  4. Oh I‘m aware of the Britain First brigade, all those icky little basement dwellers wetdreaming about the Empire and how they are going to rule the waves with their new carrier and flagship. Nothing short of global superiority will do for that smelly mob. In everything from politics to football to Bond.

    They are the better Britons, more valiant and more intelligent and certainly more ENGLISH than everybody else. Basically, they are Germans of the 1920s and 1930s born again as Britons. Either cissy-whining about being shortchanged or bullying others when they think they can get away with it.

    Avoid such characters. They are not fans. Not of Bond at any rate.

    The vast majority of the Bond community, in the UK and most other countries I can think of, have nothing in common with that set. I get that you with your blog are an easy target and you have surely had plenty of occasions where that particular mindset made itself felt in your daily exchanges.

    Look at it from this angle: You are interacting with the community via the Internet, a troll-infested and oftentimes toxic medium that attracts and inspires the worst sides of the human condition. And persons whose character isn’t prone to withstand temptations to spoil another‘s day. The bottom feeders of the ocean that is the internet.

    By law of averages you‘ll run into some of these types in every community, be that franchise fans or gamers or bird watchers. Don’t mistake the rotten apple for the whole barrel.

  5. My father had briefly known JFK and coached him as a teenager in football, so our family followed his with considerable interest. In 1962 (Dr. No was released in the US in the Spring of 1963), Time magazine ran 2 short articles about JFK’s fondness for FRWL and the upcoming film of Dr. No. The latter had a b&w picture of Sean & Ursula on Crab Key. I cut the articles out, put them in what became my James Bond scrapbook, and still have them. It was on the basis of those 2 articles that I conned a somewhat clueless, but kindly, aunt into taking me to see Dr. No soon after it was released here. I call that my Paul (or Saul) on the road to Damascus moment.

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